News Article

Talking Point: Why PS4's Delays May Be a Blessing in Disguise

Posted by Sammy Barker

Midas touch

You could almost sense the falling fire and brimstone in forums when both DriveClub and Watch Dogs were delayed mere weeks before the PlayStation 4’s release. While the platform holder had acted impeccably leading up to the next-gen system’s launch, we always felt that something would go wrong in the days before the big black box hit store shelves, and the loss of two major launch titles certainly struck with Muhammad Ali-like force. Despite the doom and gloom at the time, though, the anticipated titles’ unexpected absences didn’t really hurt much, as Sony went on to break sales records with its super machine, and struggle to keep stock on store shelves.

In fact, these delays may yet be a blessing in disguise. Early adopters have certainly been quick to criticise the lack of must have blockbusters in the system’s current software catalogue, but from a purely corporate perspective, the console’s been surviving just fine off fumes. Admittedly, the release of Sucker Punch’s superhero sequel inFAMOUS: Second Son gave it enough gas to topple semi-Xbox One exclusive Titanfall last month, but the black and blue behemoth’s been more or less sold out globally since its release over the past six months. Deploying the likes of Gran Turismo 6 as a next-gen exclusive wouldn’t have moved the needle at all on a device already out of stock.

And that’s part of the reason why the stars may be aligning yet again for the Japanese giant’s mega machine. Outside of the excitement of E3, the industry tends to slow down around May, with publishers more or less shutting up shop until the autumn months arrive. And under ordinary circumstances, you’d expect the PS4’s sales to slow down during that period also, as the platform holder prepares for the impending Christmas push against a no doubt refocused Xbox One. However, we don’t think that that’s going to happen this year, and that’s because the firm appears to have an almost flawless strategy for the coming summer season.

Whether it’s intentional or not, you can’t deny that fortune is on Sony’s side. It’s going to head into June with a massive sponsored marketing campaign for Watch Dogs, which has been associated with the PlayStation maker’s latest platform since the system was announced last year. The shrewd few among you may be eager to point out that the game’s not an exclusive, and that’s true, but every commercial, trailer, and billboard that you see over the coming weeks for this title is going to trick you into thinking that it is. Factor in the likely performance enhancements made possible through the hardware's architecture, and the exclusive content, and it’s going to sell best on the PS4.

It’s a boost that the console wouldn’t have got if the title would have deployed at launch. While the platform holder was clearly expecting Watch Dogs to help push its system back in November, it sold out without it, and now it has a chance to peddle new bundles leading into the all-important summer season – a period that would have been decidedly slower if the game was already out. And it’s not just the delay to Ubisoft’s hack happy escapade that will help, as fellow third-party release Destiny – a game that was originally due out in the spring – will pull the console back out of the sunshine months in September, and provide it with plenty of momentum leading into Christmas.

Again, this is a title that the Japanese giant’s doing its best to associate with its system. The title may be releasing on other formats – including the ageing PlayStation 3 – but it’s the PS4 version that you’re going to see advertised and promoted in hardware bundles. While this co-marketing partnership won’t swing the opinion of every consumer, the connection to Sony’s system will help sales – and we’re sure that the ‘From the creators of Halo’ quote won’t hurt either. Speculation suggests that the manufacturer’s also partnered with Warner Bros for Batman: Arkham Knight and potentially Activision again for the next Call of Duty, culminating in a formidable 2014 lineup.

So, where does DriveClub fit into all of this? Well, you can’t get by on third-party properties alone, and after a quiet couple of months, Sony will know that it needs to bring some heat in the exclusives department. Alas, the recent re-emergence of Evolution Studios suggests that we’re going to be playing its anticipated next-gen racer soon, and if we had to guess, we’d predict that it will be used to pad out that barren period between Watch Dogs and Destiny, alongside re-release The Last of Us Remastered. Again, if the semi-sim had released last year, its impact would have already been exhausted, but due to the delay, it now has an opportunity to accelerate hardware sales.

And that puts Sony’s newest format in a fortunate but enviable position. Unless it announces something new at E3, it’s unclear whether the Xbox One will have anything to counter the PS4’s almost perfect schedule of co-marketed content and exclusive software. While the summer months are ordinarily slow, the PlayStation maker appears to have the ideal properties to prevent the onset of any malaise, and that will give it serious momentum heading into the holidays. Of course, it’ll need to ensure that The Order: 1886 is finished in order to ensure that it keeps moving in the right direction, but even if it's not, it’s going to prove difficult for Microsoft to put the brakes on the Japanese giant’s best-selling box.


Do you agree that the various delays to major PS4 titles have actually worked in Sony’s favour, or are you still irked that you haven’t got to play Watch Dogs and DriveClub yet? Are you impressed with how the platform holder’s managed to keep its next-gen console feeling fresh, or has your device been gathering dust over the past few months? Move your mouth in the comments section below.

Do you agree that key PS4 delays may actually be a blessing? (52 votes)

Yes, the release schedule is much more spread out now

79%

Hmm, I don’t really know what to think

8%

No, I don’t care about the commercial implications at all

13%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (21)

Carl-G

#1

Carl-G said:

I never really expect much in the 1st year of a Consoles life really. But i still got loads to play on my New PS4(not even tried any of the F2P games yet to) :D As long as the competition isn't banging out Exclusives monthly now(which Microsoft aren't) then i can wait a bit more for the wave of Amazing 'AAA' PS4 Exclusives that 'WILL' come just like they did for the PS1 & PS2 & PS3 :P

adf86

#2

adf86 said:

You may want to add possibly Diablo 3 on that list too Sammy, I know it's on 360 & PS3 but with the PS4 version close & no mention of the X1 then that could be another feather in the cap...oh and Amazing Spiderman 2 ;)

rjejr

#3

rjejr said:

So, is MLB The Show really not a big game, b/c I see it advertised everywhere, and its a Sony exclsuive, but I rarely if ever see anybody mention it on this site, and it comes out on PS4 in a week?

I don't know, maybe Sports Friends is better.

BornOfEvil

#4

BornOfEvil said:

"Speculation suggests that the manufacturer’s also partnered with Warner Bros for Batman: Arkham Knight"

I wouldn't be surprised seeing as Sony and Warner/DC seem to be pretty close; Sony snagged exclusive content for Arkham Asylum & Origins, DC helped with the cutscenes in the first Infamous, DC published an Infamous, Injustice is PS4 exclusive, then there's DCUO - was the free Catwoman dlc in Arkham City exclusive?

That said, Sony came into this generation with their guns loaded and they've barely fired any shots. Meanwhile, Microsoft blew their load with Titanfall - which did next to nothing - and now they're scrambling for cover.

The delays were a blessing in disguise and Sony will only benefit from them. If The Order: 1886 launches this year, then it and DriveClub will carry the PS4 for a good while.

BornOfEvil

#5

BornOfEvil said:

@rjejr It may not be talked about here, but people are excited for it. Even I'm thinking of picking up the Vita version and I'm not even a fan of baseball.

Alpha

#7

Alpha said:

I like delays, as long as it means the game gets to be worked on and actually Finished. I dont like it when "oh this is when the game has to be finished, if there isnt anything even in the game by this time, its still gonna be released lol xD" I dont like that.... i wish they pushed back the Date for Sonic 2006 but they didnt, instead it flopped hugely compared to how good it could have been.

adf86

#9

adf86 said:

@Alpha Absolutely 100% agree, I never will argue with a publisher or developer about delaying a game as long it's to get the game right. The Last of Us was a good example of this, they delayed it by over a month (I heard it was to sort the frame rate out) and look how that turned.

ToOGoodOfAPlaya

#10

ToOGoodOfAPlaya said:

The way I saw it, the Watch Dogs delay, although I was devestated, actually meant that Ubisoft has a major release at a time where there is little to compete.
And with that, the guys that already have the PS4 will almost certainly bag a copy.

WickedKnightAl

#11

WickedKnightAl said:

All these kiddies whining "PS4 has no games" probably aren't old enough to have lived through a real drought.

They must have the attention-span of ants to think it's a good idea for a console-maker to fire every gun they have at once (like the Xbox One did).

Pink_Floyd

#12

Pink_Floyd said:

Nice read Sammy. I am loving the fact that so manny games we herd about last year at E3 are going to be spread over the corse of this year. Most AA games come out in September through December where you feel like you can never dig out of a backlog thous you miss out on some grate games.

As for MS marketing titanfall as a Xbox One exclusive when its available on PC and 360 as well as XB1. How did they expect it to be a system seller when you could buy a 360 dirt cheep?

charlesnarles

#13

charlesnarles said:

I'm fine with how the schedule has gone so far, especially with so many more coming so soon. There's not really a go-to game for me yet even tho I like the ones I own, but I feel like their summer lineup will be satisfying if not excellent

TasukiStaff

#14

Tasuki said:

@adf86: Diablo III has never been delayed on the PS4 cause Blizzard never has mentioned a release date for it. But then again Blizzard tends to not give out release dates until they are good and ready to release a game.

GrafUlrich88

#15

GrafUlrich88 said:

Hey Sammy,

You forgot that PS4 has several more games coming very soon:

Planetside 2 (Halo Killer). This game is going to rock the FPS world when it comes to the PS4. It's already the best FPS on PC. It will probably be released this Summer or early Fall.

War Thunder. This game is huge on PC and PS4 Europe. Rumor is this game could release as early as May or June. Boom!!!

Everquest Next. Perhaps Winter 14 or Spring 15. This will do quite well.

H1Z1. This game is already starting it's Beta testing in May on PC. It could land on the PS4 Winter 14.

Little Big Planet Hub. Probably Fall or Winter 14, perhaps Spring 15. This game has a large fan base. Heck they keep coming out with new Little Big Planet 2 stuff every month.

Sony has a lot of games being made we have just seen some of the great games coming to PS4.

Cheers!!!

Graf

P.S. All MS has that is remotely big this year is Halo 2 Anniversary and I believe another Fable game. Sony is bringing the beat down this year.

THEundying27

#17

THEundying27 said:

Yeah you forgot to mention mlb the show like someone else said. The last sports game I bought was nfl blitz on n64. I've never been a sports gamer but I'm expanding my horizons this year.

Gamer83

#18

Gamer83 said:

@rjejr

MLB is a big deal if you're a baseball fan since at this point The Show is your only choice. Coming out after the PS3 and Vita versions may lessen the impact MLB 14 could on have on PS4 though. If The Show is still the only MLB game around next season and they get all versions out at the same time, it'll be a bigger deal. Especially since the PS4 will likely be the lead platform. The only negative I can say about MLB is it's a pretty 'hardcore' sim. It's a game I'd recommend to baseball fans but I'd say unless you're really into the sport you may want to consider renting first, it's not a pick up and play kind of game.

rjejr

#19

rjejr said:

@Gamer83 - "MLB is a big deal if you're a baseball fan"

I'ld say there are more American baseball fans than video game players, and the overlap is probably pretty large, and America is a pretty big battleground for PS4 vs X1, so I think its a relevant PS4 game that could have easily been shoe-horned into this article w/ the rest of the upcoming PS4 games. You are right about the PS3/Vita releases being a factor, but I'ld still argue in America its probably matters for some people deciding which console to buy PS4 or X1.

As for it being a sim, it is crazy hard on default settings, but we just go in and switch everything off before playing so it's a basically just pitching, hitting, fielding and running the bases. I think 2012 might be the last one we own though. Whichever one started w/ the RedSox and Braves collapses. I'm a Mets fan, I can watch that opening forever. :-)

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